Bet Early or Late
When the lines are posted, the sharps analyze the lines and pounce on any perceived value. With such a limited handle, the books usually adjust the lines very quickly in reaction, which means the value is only available for a very short period of time. In order to combat this, sports bettors should be ready to read the market, identify value, and bet early. This requires the bettor to handicap games before the sportsbooks have time to adjust their lines. When you bet early, you are betting against the odds makers. When you bet late, you are betting against the best handicappers.
As the opening lines get bet and the sharps move the line, you can try to catch the steam before it bottoms out. However, this can be a dangerous proposition. Often times there is an overreaction to the line move and you can get caught with the worse number than the market eventually settles on. This is why it is best practice to handicap the games yourself, create your own opinion, and bet accordingly.
For most sports bettors, this is difficult to do. They are still watching the games they bet on and not preparing for future plays. If you miss the opening lines, it doesn’t mean there won’t be value later on, but there are important factors to know. There can be a lot of movement in the line at the openings, but for the most part, the lines become stale as the week progresses. The limits usually remain low throughout the week and get incrementally larger on Friday through Sunday. The sharps and the syndicates usually sit on their plays until they bet at a larger denomination, which is why most game lines don’t move until the weekend, unless there is a major injury or extenuating circumstances that would require immediate bet or a reassessment of the line on the book’s part.
As the sharps bet the openings, remain quiet during the week, and then bet again when the limits are raised, the public bets almost exclusively on the weekend. If you missed the openers or are unprepared to bet it, it is often advantageous to bet late. Over 90% of a book’s handle on an NFL game comes on the weekend. The public often overwhelmingly bets one side of a game, pushes the line, and creates value. This is a great opportunity for a contrarian play. Fading the public has made many people rich. If you can identify games where the public is crushing one side, but your handicap has you looking the other way, it may be a good time to bet, especially if the sharps on your side. If you can find a spot where it lists the dollars bet on a game versus the percentage of bets, you usually can identify the sharp plays. When there is a vast disparity between the dollars bet and the percentage, bet on the dollars over the percentage.
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